When it comes to beginners of Zen Buddhism asking special questions, it often involves a fair amount of relevant, background context in order for the answer to make any kind of sense. Very seldom does this happen. Asking particular questions related to Zen brings with it the questioner's own presuppositions which have a particular context. E.g., the question, "What is Buddha-nature?" could have a context which assumes that there is some kind of adequate conventional answer. But there is also the context, ignored by the questioner, that Buddha-nature must be directly realized on its own terms, not through something else as if what Buddha-nature signifies begins and ends in the world of semantics.
Such a question as, "What is Buddha-nature?" can only be answered in the direct meditational experience of this nature. All subsequent questions rest on this experience. Until the experience of Buddha-nature is gained, the context of a question about Buddha-nature is outside of what the Buddha taught. Scholars can provide us with some of the background about Buddha-nature. One might find a text which says Buddha-nature is ātman but that is not a context which is about the realization of one's Buddha-nature.
There are other kinds of questions beginners present which are outside of the Buddhist context so that any answer they receive seems to be inadequate. If someone, for example, asks me, "What is dhyāna?" and I reply, it means the abandonment of mental confusion thereby to arrive at gnosis of pure Mind, this isn't going to win me any applause from the beginners. At this point it becomes like a tug of war. They want me to explain dhyāna in their own context. I say it can't be done. They want a compromise. I say it can't be done either. The tug of war goes on.
It is difficult for beginners and even veterans to enter the sanctuary of Zen free of suppositions and without contexts that don't comport with Zen Buddhism's context which is about transcendence. Carrying this burden makes it almost impossible to sense what is going on; what the Buddha is really saying in other words. This is further compounded by teachers who have compromised—dumbing down the Dharma to meet halfway with the beginner's views. Sure, it seems nice. Still, the teacher should not do this if he or she is worth their salt. What the beginner needs to hear is that by dhyāna we hope to come face to face with the animative principle—and that meditation doesn't mean just sit on your arse on a cushion. It is about the pure Mind, which we have not yet seen, trying to see itself through all the mental confusion in our noggin (if the beginner gets lucky and sees pure Mind it will be verified at once).